The editor-in-chief of the independent media outlet Ej.ru, Aleksandr Ryklin, wrote an article, titled "There Are Only Two Strategies Of Behavior: To Emigrate Or To Resist," stating that the recent elections clarified that Russian President Vladimir Putin will never relinquish power of his own free will. For this reason, Ryklin opined that the Kremlin needs to keep creating problems, in order to strengthen its hold on power.
According to Ryklin, one of these ploys included the poisoning of former Russian spy Sergey Skripal.
Soon after the March 18 presidential elections, Andrei Kondrashov, the press secretary for Putin's campaign, stressed that Putin benefitted from tensions with the UK over the Skripal case. Kondrashov stated: "Turnout is higher than we expected, by about 8-10%, for which we must say thanks to Great Britain, because once again they didn't read the Russian mentality correctly."
According to Ryklin, Kondrashov's words are to be read as self-incrimination. Ryklin wrote: "That is to say, the assassination attempt on Sergei Skripal and his daughter at the peak of the election campaign was a deliberate, pre-planned decision." He then added: Could not the Russian security agents, thirsting for revenge, have held off for another month with their hit on a man who has lived outside Russia for years? No way! A brutal crime was committed just a few days before the election. It was calculated to make sure that the scandal would have time to gain traction and become the most discussed news item in the country."
Ryklin also suggested that the Kremlin had a clear reason for committing such an "atrocious deed", and in explanation he again cited Kondrashov: "Because whenever Russia is bombarded with groundless unsubstantiated accusations, when we are threatened with sanctions, the only reaction of the Russian people is to unify around the center of power."
Ryklin predicts that it will be bad to live in Russia during the coming years. "[It will be] stifling, dreary, bleak, famished... And disgraceful as well, by the way!" said Ryklin, who added that only two survival options existed: emigrating abroad or resisting.
Below are excerpts from Ryklin's article:
Aleksandr Ryklin (Source: Kasparov.ru)
"The positive side to Vladimir Putin's reappointment to the highest office in the land is that it has become crystal clear: Putin will not relinquish power of his own free will. [He will] never [abdicate] until the day of his death. He is, of course, a powerful man, but to hand over the controls to someone else and retire - this option is just not in his toolbox. No matter how long he might rummage through it...
"There are, however, numerous other options promising untold hardship and suffering. That toolbox needs to be secured with a rope, to make sure that his capacities for creating problems for the subordinate population, as well as the wider world, do not spill out during the Russian national leader's triumphant march toward the dictatorial heights of his dizzying career.
"Andrei Kondrashov, the press secretary for Putin's campaign, thanked Great Britain for the high voter turnout. Quite a self-incriminating statement, I tell you. In other words, the assassination attempt on Sergei Skripal and his daughter at the peak of the election campaign was a deliberate, pre-planned decision. Could not the Russian security agents, thirsting for revenge, have held off for another month with their hit on a man who has lived outside Russia for years? No way! A brutal crime was committed just a few days before the election. It was calculated to make sure that the scandal would have time to gain traction and become the most discussed news item in the country.
Sergey Skripal (Source: Infox.ru)
"Why did they need to commit such a shameful crime? Here is how Kondrashov himself explains: 'Because whenever Russia is bombarded with groundless unsubstantiated accusations, when we are threatened with sanctions, the sole reaction of the Russian people is to unify around the center of power.' That is to say that a new round of the fierce confrontation with the West, provoked by a brazen assassination attempt, is part and parcel of a deliberate election strategy. Although, why should we be surprised? This train has been rushing out of control for nearly twenty years.
"The seventy-seven percent figure [of the vote for Putin] that was painted for us as the outcome of this event is of course a bit over the top. I anticipate vehement objections here. What makes one conclude that the election results are rigged? My answer is simple: years of observing the political system built by Vladimir Putin. Experience gives me the right to argue that this political system does not, as a matter of principle, provide for an honest vote count (I am not talking at the moment about all the components of the procedure called 'elections'). You can tie Putin's governors to radiators and torture them with soldering irons, demanding that they stop stealing votes from the voters, and they will still inflate the results of the national leader. Because when his time to appear before the gates of the Presidential Administration arrives, the local apostle at the entrance will not ask the governor about the achievements of his fiefdom in the field of health or education, he will not inquire about small business, credit policy, or the state of industry. The only question he will ask: 'Will you remind me, Sergei Semyonych, how many votes did Vladimir Vladimirovich get in your region in the last election?' 55 percent, you say? Look here - in the neighboring one it is 62! Can you explain this discrepancy?
"In today's Russia, the key performance indicator of a regional leader's effectiveness is the level of support for the central government. This thesis is best illustrated by the country's border regions adjacent to the Caucasian mountains. Commonplace mountain-dwellers had learned this straightforward truth a long time ago -- the more votes for Putin, the better -- and they firmly took it to heart. Let us, however, revisit the numbers.
"So, [the first deputy head of the Presidential Administration] Sergey Kiriyenko has not quite achieved his goal to reappoint Vladimir Putin in such a manner that this dubious procedure resembles 'democratic elections' even in appearance only. I reiterate, 77 percent is just too much. In today's world, a result like this can be achieved only in a rigid authoritarian structure. But, apparently, Sergei Vladilenovich [Kirienko] did what he could. Two of his electoral projects (namely, Grudinin and Sobchak) can be assessed in different ways.
"On the one hand, it seems that the trick of resuscitating a partial protest vote had failed - Grudinin's result is the worst in history for a Communist Party of the Russian Federation candidate, and Ksenia Anatolyevna [Sobchak] scored just over one and a half percent. And even though she surpassed Yavlinsky, she was unable to beat Zhirinovsky, even in [liberal] Moscow. On the other hand, we have repeatedly said that this election campaign should not be evaluated by its influence on the results of these elections. Those were predictable. Another matter entirely is the formation of a post-election configuration of the top of the current ruling class. In other words, the question of who will be standing on either side of the throne is much more important than that of Putin's separation from his nearest rival. And it is Kiriyenko who, in my view, has good chances to gain a foothold at the very top of the Russian government.
"At this time it is difficult to predict what prospects Grudinin has on the left wing; whether aged Zyuganov is ready to cede the Communist Olympus to him without a fight and whether Grudinin himself aspires to that Olympus. But as far as the liberal camp is concerned, the outlines of the future 'opposition' can be seen quite clearly. Back in the midst of the campaign, Ksenia Sobchak announced the creation of a new party that will participate in the upcoming Duma elections. The political goal of the project is transparent: it is to create an alternative to the 'Navalny's trend' and dislodge Navalny himself to the sidelines of the opposition agenda. The principal ideological message is 'we are against Putin, but not at the barricades!' We will drop by drop stop being slaves and will be playing solely within the legal boundaries. The immediate goal is to create a faction in the State Duma.
"Despite the painfully discouraging overall result among the general population, Ksenia Sobchak has, in the course of her campaign, secured the support of a large part of sane society. This is a firm certainty.
"And as soon as her party obtains the proper budgeting, the project will grow a thick shell consisting of qualified political scientists and journalists, who will be explaining to us articulately that Lekha [Alexei Navalny] is, of course, a good guy, but he stands no chance. And we just might... So, why won't we try this one? And then they will ask you about the substance and appearance.
"Everything would be fine with this story, except for one thing. It will never, under any circumstances, lead to an alternation of power in Russia. This project is tailored to produce the opposite result. It has been conceived, developed and is being implemented with the sole aim of cementing the current political regime and its cosmetic renovations. No matter what noble actions are performed by the main actors and whatever fiery speeches are delivered... And the most relevant question here is: 'what is to be done?' That is to say, how can we survive?
"It will be bad to live in Russia during the coming years. [It will be] stifling, dreary, bleak , famished... And disgraceful as well, by the way! Because, in the end result, you and I were the ones, who allowed this entire nightmare. Well, who else?
"I will never judge people who decide that they are not ready to sacrifice their lives, as they say, 'on the altar of the struggle for Russia's future' and will leave the country while it is still possible. I wish them all the success and happiness. In addition, we know many examples of how people in the West also try to effectively counter the barbaric regime, which in substance and content, is already an occupation [regime] (This occupation did come from without but from within from the bowels of the secret police governments).
"People who stay in Russia have only one way to try to live with their heads uplifted, maintaining self-respect and self-esteem. They will have to resist. They will have to resist by any means possible and which do not contradict human perceptions of good and evil.
"Resistance in any suitable form entails maximum exclusion from the current government. If possible, by non-participation in any of its projects, be they political, humanitarian or even cultural.
"The campaign of civil disregard, which can develop into a campaign of civil disobedience, is the only way leading to real changes in Russia. But now only those opposition organizations that will be able to offer us such projects - projects targeted at genuinely dumping the ghouls – have a chance to succeed and to enjoy our support. Because everyone is sick of the endless floundering in the Kremlin's agenda. Thank you. Enough!"